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Call masking persists as telcos avoid costs


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)

Call masking, a technique used to hide numbers when making calls or sending messages; especially international calls, in order to evade the international call rates has continued unabated, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is waxing worriedly.

NCC said the act posed a threat to national security.In some cases, international numbers are masked with local numbers which are not charged, because the caller’s identity is completely hidden on the network.

The commission in a recent survey, asked some respondents: ‘Have you received an international call from a local number of recent?’ on all its social media platforms.Responses from the subscribers with the evidences of local numbers used by their international callers indicated that the criminal practice is still rife.

Apart from its national security implications, call masking affects the licensed telecom operators in the country as they lose revenue from international calls, since such are being disguised as local calls.

NCC had earlier in the year sanctioned some telecoms companies found to be indulging in call-masking.Mr. Tony Ojobo, director, Public Affairs of the Commission, said, then that the commission, has imposed a range of sanctions on licensees involved in the fraudulent practice of call-masking, callrefiling and SIM-boxing.

Recently also, the NCC and the Consumer Protection Council have held a meeting to investigate call masking in Nigeria on the directive of the National Assembly.The meeting was also to review the existing memorandum of understanding between the two government organizations and discuss how to work together to improve complaints resolution of telecommunications consumers.Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC at the NCC, said masking of calls with another number, especially international calls, is a growing trend and the NCC has been directed to address the problem due to the security implications.

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